Thursday, October 31, 2013

Working in the Outline View in Microsoft Word

It is sad that Microsoft has sought to de-emphasise Outline View in Microsoft Word 2013 – it may be that they are optimising the user interface of these programs for Windows 8 touch tablets (Surface, Surface Pro and so on).

For putting structured thoughts to paper (think academic Thesis, comprehensive proposals and arguments), outlining is a very powerful tool and closely related to Buzan Mind Maps.

Since you are thinking out, you don’t want paper layout, fonts, or how it appears (presentation with diagrams and so on) to get in the way, you just want to write and re-organise.

Switching Views

Microsoft Knowledgebase 290938 has the following recommendations:

  • Alt+Ctrl+P for Print Layout View
  • Alt+Ctrl+O for Outline View
  • Alt+Ctrl+N for Draft View

ShortcutWorld has a visually pleasant list of keystrokes.

Whilst in Outline View

  • Ctrl+Tab to insert a Tab Character when in Outline View (since the Tab and Shift+Tab combination is busy)
  • Numeric keypad Slash (/) to toggle display of character formatting

Dummies.com has a short and sweet list of Keyboard Shortcuts by Dan Gookin.
Tip: Ctrl+Shift+N to force the current paragraph to Normal Style

Don’t forget to visit Word MVP FAQ for some experienced insight tips.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What's happened to Draft Mode, Ma?

I've had Office 2013 for a while, just not taken it for a drive much, the most common Office versions I encounter in corporate and educational training is 2010. I also use Office 2007 in a small business with a mixed Office environment. So I finally get to install Windows 8.1 and Office 2013, fresh.

Now, typing in Word 2013, I realise that the bar of mini icons on the bottom right of the Word window is missing the Draft Mode icon and the Outline Mode icon. They're still there in the View Tab of the Ribbon, but missing from the easy access mini icons.



Why make a fuss? Outline Mode is crucial to brain storming and re-organising the document by structure, not by pages. You can now do some of that organisation using the Document Map Pane on the far left but Outline View has lots of usability like the Style Pane.

Draft Mode frees your mind from concentrating on page formatting and margins, giving a clean screen. You don't obsess about word wrap line endings and nitty gritty formatting detail. Alternatively, for structural formatting, you can see the Style Pane, Hard and Soft Page Breaks without nausea caused by vertical jiggling.

So, you'll have to use the View Tab or add them to your Quick Access Bar